Muhammadu Buhari: reformed dictator returns to power in democratic Nigeria

Muhammadu Buhari waves to supporters after voting in his hometown of Daura in northern Nigeria. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP

The newly elected president of Africa’s biggest democracy is a former military dictator and political prisoner who once waged a draconian “war against indiscipline” but now insists he is a born-again democrat.

Muhammadu Buhari, a 72-year-old Muslim, managed to persuade Nigerians he is a reformed character who respects civil liberties yet still wields enough of an iron fist to beat corruption and the insurgency by the Islamist militants Boko Haram.

His first spell in power was a generation ago in a very different, pre-internet era, when democracy had a less steady foothold on the continent. Buhari, who was the petroleum affairs minister in the 1970s, ousted the elected president Shehu Shagari on New Year’s Eve in 1983 and ruled a military government until 27 August 1985.

Read more: Muhammadu Buhari: reformed dictator returns to power in democratic Nigeria | World news | The Guardian.

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